Spoiler Free Summary: 17 years after the Battle of Hogwarts, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are all grown up with children of their own. Harry’s youngest is the odd man out. It picks up right where the last book left off, only we find out who young Albus Potter sits next to on the train, and it’s the most unlikely person. Albus struggles to be the boy who’s the son of the boy who lived, and he and his friend Scorpious find all the wrong ways to make a name for themselves. When they find a mission for themselves, a mission designed to fix one of Harry’s past mistakes, they only end up discovering the costs of trying to be heroes.
(NOTE: This isn’t a book. It’s a script. I think it was wise and kind of those involved to let people who love that world see what the next chapter is, and they did so in the most immediate format available. If you just want to KNOW what happened, this does the trick. Also, this isn’t a Harry Potter book. He has a significant role, but the book isn’t really about him.)
Character: This part frustrated me a bit. Albus has a solid arc, and he’s very proactive, which helps, but things seem to move a little too quickly for my taste here. It doesn’t hurt the book exactly, but readers should be ready to let a little development slide here. You can probably give some of that to the performance as this is a script, not a novel. I have to say this. The lesson and arc Albus goes through is far less external than Harry. I can see the reasoning here. Harry had to beat the overlord. How do you improve on that? Options: Bigger villain, or more dramatic focus. The most interesting part of Albus is the lesson he learned because it was the only one there was for him to learn.
Scorpious, on the other hand completely steals the show for me. I found him more compelling anyway. He’s a young man who has to struggle with his family’s mistakes, and all he wants to do is be a kid. My opinion, this story falls short if Scorpious isn’t in it. Where Harry was clearly the hero of the last generation, Scorpious carved a place for himself in my heart. Sure, Albus does some cool things, but he wasn’t nearly as heroic as his friend.
Exposition: This was a script, so we get a little insight into emotions and stage direction, but this is heavy based on dialogue.
Worldbuilding: This is where I think the book falls short. The writers are asking readers to believe that nearly two decades have passed, and there wasn’t a hint of progress in the world? Where the Mistborn world and even The Last Airbender worlds evolved, there’s nothing in this book to show any passage of time. This will be grounds for argument for anyone who cares to waste oxygen on it, but if the only reason they’re still using owls to communicate is because they always have, then what significant contributions are there to be made in the wizarding world? Especially with a Minister of Magic who was raised in a muggle world.
I think this is a failure on the part of the writers. I was glad to see more of the world of Harry Potter. We even get a peek at some magical developments. So if want you want is pretty much EXACTLY the same world you left, then you’re in luck. Of course, if you really wanted that, you could actually just reread the original series. For me, if I read a book nearly two decades after the last, I want some worldbuilding ways to note said passage of time.
Dialogue: I don’t actually know if the dialogue is “good” here. There’s a lot of it. The character’s voices feel unique. I’ve never read a script before, so perhaps there’s some expectation the actors will bring the words to life. It’s honest to say it didn’t meet my expectations, but that my expectations were higher because I knew dialogue would drive the story.
Description: Again, this was a script, so there’s not much there.
Overall: It was nostalgic to go back to this world and see what’s happened. I can say what I want about the worldbuilding, but that doesn’t diminish the wonderful characters in the story, nor does is make this book unentertaining. It is a fun, fast-paced story that I’m glad was published. I love knowing “what happened next,” and this book does that for us. I read this in about two days (which is fast even for me). Yes, I was more happy to see these characters in a new story than I was impressed with the actual plot, but it was still enjoyable. If you love Harry Potter, I imagine you’ll like this next chapter. If you didn’t love the world and style of the books though, you’ll be disappointed because it’s the same in this book.
I’m not actually one of those who sing the praises of J.K. Rowling. She did a lot for this industry, and I really enjoyed the saga. I’m just a bit less in awe of her actual writing, and I had some serious problems with Deathly Hallows. Regardless, I was very happy I read Cursed Child. I was glad to see the characters again, and I’d look forward to more from this new generation.
Thanks for reading
5 thoughts on “Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling”
Your notes about worldbuilding really got me thinking. I asked Heather what she thought of the book after she read it and she said she liked it. I asked her what was different after all the time had passed, and she basically just talked about how the character were different. But like you said, no real changes in the world. Likely this is because of the formatting as a screenplay? Heather said if you had never read one of the books before and started here you would be in the hurt locker because the book relies on prior knowledge of locations.
Regardless, I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on the book and am glad you read it before a spoiler came along and ruined everything for you!
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I ever tell you about when I was a student at DINFOS? A guy came up in front of the whole class and announced who dies at the end of book six. I had read it all in that night, and would have lost it had I not read it.
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Those are the actions of a person who wishes to do the slow tango with death! You did mention this to me before, but it still gets me angry thinking about it.
At times like those I wish I had the power of the oracle. They ruined the book for me? Cool. “Here’s how you die chuckle head! Try not to let the knowledge make you go insane…”
Of course, I’m far more twisted and diabolical than you my good-hearted friend.
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Scorpius stole the show for me too. I was also happy to see his father also had a solid role to play. 🙂
All in all I really enjoyed this. I like reading scripts, so that was no barrier. I loved imagining how it must play out on stage. (Come to Broadway soon! Please!)
That said, I take your point about world building, but I didn’t notice the lack while I was reading it. But I read much more for the characters–besides, there may have been more changes than we’re aware of, just not earth-shattering ones.
Plus, I think the focus was almost more on tantalizing what-ifs than on the present state of the world . . . .
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Oh, I think the series was always more focused on character than world building. I’d hate to give the impression that it made the book “bad.” That’s not it at all. It was just a slight tangent I couldn’t help but point out.
I don’t see it coming to Broadway. There’s no WAY this doesn’t get made into a film soon. Maybe a duel release, but I promise the check cashers are going to want to get that coin, and I’d like to visit the world again. Whatever happens, I’m glad to see a bit of the “ever after.”
Thanks for stopping by.